The late poet Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” I’ve personally experienced the powerful truth of her statement. Throughout many difficult times in life, I owe my endurance to the God-given blessing of my family’s love. I believe that this statement by the acclaimed poet is not only true on the individual level, but also on the societal level, as biblically, the foundation for society is the family. Without the love of family, our society will not be able to sustain itself.
It is within families that God places the ability and responsibility to raise children to love others (Ephesians 6:4). The second great commandment is, “love your neighbor” (Matthew 22:39). And who is a closer neighbor than those in our immediate family? The primary reason that this is important to a society is that without training in love, children will grow to live for themselves — indifferent to the needs, concerns, and well-being of others.
Living for oneself, as opposed to living to do good for others, is what causes our society to break down. If our children do not learn to love, we cannot expect them to give care and support in the future to the vulnerable and powerless who can often give nothing (except for their own love) in return. When Jesus calls us to love our neighbor, he does not give us exceptions of those who are not worthy of love. Without love, poverty, oppression, racial conflict, and greed run rampant. When we teach our children to love others, we lay the societal foundation of knowing the inherent value and dignity of all people.
Love seeks the good of other people (1 Corinthians 13:6). The family is where children are taught what is right and wrong and how to do what is truly good for others. Although the government and other organizations can reinforce what is right, families are to be where this primary instruction takes place in word and in actions. When families do this, crime will not only decrease in a society, but also, the overall society will thrive as care for others in need will increase (Ephesians 5:28).
Love has an outward and future focus to it. The parent, who loves her child, plans for the child’s future. The parent chooses to sacrifice time to teach her child to read, knowing that reading is one of the abilities a child needs for the future. A parent realizes her mortality and her child’s. She will teach about the holy God whom we will all stand in judgment before and the wonderful offer of eternal life given in Christ Jesus.
Likewise, families are needed to model how to live considering the debt left and the credit given in the morals and values that will be handed down to the next generation. Without love, we forget about our future generations, because in our now, they provide no tangible value. (Although, as individuals age and become more dependent upon the next generation for their care, this value is increasingly realized but by then, it’s typically too late.)
God has designed families to undergird society through their love and training children to love others. Our society will not be sustained without the love of families. Let us not forget their important role in our society so future generations can also say, “I sustain myself with the love of family.”
The Rev. Aaron Brockmeier is pastor of Saint Luke’s Church, http://slcfaribault.com, which meets at 10:15 a.m. Sundays at 1100 9th Ave. SW, Faribault. He may be reached at email@example.com or by calling the church at 507-334-6608.
Originally posted at: http://www.southernminn.com/faribault_daily_news/opinion/guest_columns/article_13714d7e-d610-5add-bad5-4064d981897a.html